Malhkebre - _Revelation_
(I, Voidhanger Records, 2014)
by: Chaim Drishner (5.5 out of 10)
After all the hype and the outrageous cover art, Malhkebre are nothing but a soulless and uninteresting punk-fueled black metal / hardcore / grindcore band devoid of atmospheric aspirations (or grasp), having only barely average song writing skills. They play fast and aggressive, their hardcore punk is furious and violent, and their vocalist is one angry Frenchman with a heavy accent.

Malhkebre portray themselves as depraved, twisted, death worshipping Satanic sociopaths with an affinity for self-mutilation, perversions and sexual depravity as ritualistic means and as tools for transcendence, according to their specific cult, whatever that may be. But the music is rather simplistic and in parts lacks that ceremonial vibe and depth it so desperately needs.

Sure, you may find tracks such as "Hystérie Révélatrice Pt. II" partly immersed in that occult aura, but in no time it all dwindles down into a charade of simple riffs, fast strumming and crazy fast drum beats. The vocals are often nothing but shouts; semi-clear (and occasionally ridiculous) yells and shouted spoken verses that those who understand French won't find too hard to decipher.

It's interesting to notice how a band, proclaiming to be a black metal one, of all things, manages to yield so little atmosphere throughout the recording. Had _Revelation_ been recorded by a Scandinavian group rather than by a French one, some would have dubbed that style of music as 'Norsecore', and indeed, nobody would be too far off.

French musicians often exhibit that over-the-top imagery of themselves, which they like to force feed their audience with, substituting musical quality with useless theatrics and visual outrage coupled with obscure quasi-philosophy about life, death and what's between; how we are all sheep, followers, cannon-fodder of society and how they are free from the shackles that bind us. How they are beyond all this, meta-humans, non-humans, slaves to the Dark and such. Let me tell you a secret: we all pay our taxes; try to avoid your tax paying duties, and see what happens to your so-called "free rebellious spirits".

It's all the same in the end: we are all slaves. We, the slaves of establishments, governments and rules, they -- the slaves of their imaginary dark forces, followers of the fictional fallen one, the new clowns on the block. But hey, it's cooler to follow Satan than to follow rules and regulations, isn't it?

Where were we? Oh yeah, Malhkebre's _Revelation_. Disjointed and erratic, with badly edited samples-as-tracks here and there (ironically those tracks are way more interesting than the actual metal on display). The songs range from the ridiculous to the comical; from the primitive to the almost interesting, but eventually _Revelations_ does not hold enough meat on its skinny sonic body to sink the teeth into; an album whose visual aspect far surpasses its aural one in terms of morbid outrageousness and offense toward the listeners. As such, this album's graphic aesthetics hold much more value as an artefact to cherish and appreciate, than the musical unadventurous facet of the album. In the end, the music should have been the first and foremost reason for the very existence of this album; everything else should always come later.

Eventually, these Frenchmen are not leaders at all, but followers delivering a pretty standard, skeletal, almost rehashed form of black metal that hasn't got many novel ideas in its midst, poor in the ambient department and not too enthusiastic about concepts such as originality, mystique or layering. The band sounds like a disillusioned, disgruntled, angry bunch of French adolescents jamming their frustration and hatred away, somewhere in a cellar that's been equipped with some expensive recording gear, trying to play faster than Immortal's _Pure Holocaust_ but falling short where atmosphere and mystique are concerned -- which the aforementioned album so radiantly displayed and abundantly possessed.

With a less explicitly shocking cover art and image, _Revelations_ would have been forgotten in a heartbeat; with a corpse with its neck slit open and all of the 'piping' exposed for a cover and the other photos and paintings adorning the booklet's pages (including a homage to Profanatica: male nudity and some fake blood), this album would be forgotten after a couple of heartbeats. You know what? Make it three heartbeats.


(article published 16/2/2015)

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